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Ethical Guidelines for Businesses

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“O you who have believed, do not consume one another's wealth unjustly but deal [in lawful] business by mutual consent.” (S:4 ; V:29)
 
Below are some key business principles that Muslim businesses should adhere to:
 
Be Honest and Truthful
Honesty and truthfulness is especially important for Muslim businesses because of the need to make a profit and the temptations to enhance the attributes of their product of service during a sales pitch. This is why Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“The honest and trustworthy merchant will be with the prophets, the truthful, and the martyrs.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
 
“The merchants will be raised on the Day of Resurrentction as evil-doers, except those who fear Allah, are honest and speak the truth.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
 
Keep Your Word 
Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“If you guarantee me six things on your part I shall guarantee you Paradise. Speak the truth when you talk, keep a promise when you make it, when you are trusted with something fulfill your trust, avoid sexual immorality, lower your gaze, and restrain your hands from injustice.” (Musnad Ahmad)
Love Allah More Than Your Trade
We must love Allah even if we have to sacrifice everything else. Allah warns us in the Qur’an:
 
Say, “If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, or your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline; or the dwellings in which you delight – are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause - then wait until Allah brings about His Decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious. [Al Qur’an 9:24]
 
Do Not Deal in Fraud 
Businessmen should avoid deceitfulness. They should treat others in the same righteous and fair manner that they themselves would like to be treated.
 
“Woe (destruction be) to those that deal fraudulently. Who, when they take a measure from people, take it in full, but when they give by measure or weight, they give less than what is due. Do they not think that they shall be raised (taken to account)? (Al Qur’an 83:1-4)
 
Do Not Bribe 
Businessmen may sometimes be tempted to offer bribes, attempt to persuade another party to gain 'special concessions' or get embroiled in dishonest practices. These practices of bribery and dishonesty are forbidden in Islam.
 
Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu anhu reported that Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam cursed the one offers bribes and the one who takes bribes. (Sunan Tirmidhi)
Deal Justly.
 The general principle that applies across all transactions including those pertaining to business is that of justice. Allah emphasizes this point in the Qur’an:
 
“Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.” [Al Qur’an 2:279]
 
May Allah Ta‘ala grant us the ability to deal honestly and justly in our businesses and may He grant us Halaal sustenance that is full of barakah, Ameen.

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council of Muslim Theologians

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